Louise Bourgeois Angry Cat
20 May - 24 June
autobiographical series and set of 11 drypoints

louise bourgeois

admission free

This Hayward Touring print exhibition features two series by one of the most important and influential artists of recent decades, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010).

Best known for her powerful emotionally charged sculptures, steel cage installations and fabric figures, her prolific output grew increasingly expressive throughout her career.

This French-American artist’s work, whether in sculpture, drawing or printmaking, always maintained strongly autobiographical themes, centering on her own obsessions and vulnerabilities – loneliness, insecurity, anger, sadness, desire. After many years focusing primarily on sculpture, Bourgeois returned to printmaking during the latter years of her life – from the 1980s until her death in 2010. The two series in this exhibition were made whilst she was in her eighties.

Autobiographical Series (1994) captures some of her deepest thoughts and memories, whilst the set of 11 drypoints (all from 1999) brings these anxieties into more abstract territory. Featuring familiar motifs, from the pregnant woman to the cat, the prints in these two series are clearly inspired by her obsessions with the human condition. Womb-like figures, stairs and ladders, feet, long hair, clocks, scissors, bathtubs and a pregnant mosquito all contain charged references to memory, with such titles as ‘Empty Nest’, ‘Paternity’, ‘Please Hang in There’ and ‘Mother and Child’. The print entitled ‘Fear’, as part of 11 drypoints, for example, shows a person crouched inside a triangle that is slowly squeezing her into a tight space. The memory of her mother sewing – the Bourgeois family ran a successful tapestry company – is evoked in ‘Sewing’, in the Autobiographical Series.

Bourgeois enjoyed the sculptural, tactile and physical process of printmaking. This medium gave her the ability to make many changes over the course of an edition, experimenting with the depth of transparency with certain elements of her drawings, which typically resulted in a number of different states until she was satisfied. The possibilities of retaining parts of her original drawings whilst amending others was something that she felt was not available to her in painting or sculpture. She said ‘the whole history of the creative process is there’.

A Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London

*GALLERY TALK: Curator and art historian Marianne O’Kane-Boal presents ‘Louise Bourgeois: Her Life and Work’ on Thursday 8 June from 2-3pm. This talk is free but please book your place in advance by calling us on Tel: 02877760650 or emailing information@rvacc.co.uk

*BE INSPIRED: We have a series of creative learning activities inspired by the exhibition to get you inspired! Activities include a two-part talk/workshop with Derry Print Workshop for students/adults, Connecting Creatively for adults and Mini-Masterpiece workshops in printmaking and sculpture for young people aged 8-14 years. Please visit our Make & Do page for further details.

*FOR SCHOOLS, STUDENTS & FAMILIES: The exhibition has accompanying education packs with worksheets.

Louise Bourgeois Angry Cat






Louise Bourgeois, THE ANGRY CAT, 1999. Drypoint on paper, 38.1×43.2cam. Photo: Christopher Burke, The Easton Foundation/VAGA, New York/DACS, London 2015





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